Religion that united our people is now being used to divide the country as…

first_imgDear Editor,Despite all our turbulent political history since independence, our coexistence has been facilitated mainly through respect and appreciation for every religion practiced in the country. A few days ago, most Guyanese celebrated Christmas.Our religious beliefs did not prevent non-Christians from celebrating this auspicious period in the Christian calendar. At Easter, regardless of our religious background, we also celebrate this important Christian holiday with equal zeal.Non-Hindus celebrate significant Hindu holidays such as Diwali (festival of lights) and Holi (festival of colours), and almost everyone participates in Muslim holidays. I cannot recall Guyanese ever going out of their way to obstruct the celebration of any religious event or publicly attacking another because of religion.By celebrating each other’s religion, we have been able to coexist in relative peace. Based on my experience and anecdotal evidence, religion has united us more than any other thing in this country. Since we live in a world where religion has divided people, we can consider ourselves unique.Today, I see religion being used by politicians to separate our people. It must be the first time this experiment is being carried out in our country that has suffered tremendously because of political and racial division. This development is exceptionally worrisome since it can only compound the ethnic problem we have to battle with daily and during elections.On one extreme, we have prominent politicians making public remarks cloaked in religious sentiments. On the other extreme of the continuum, so-called academics are coming out to invoke ethnic fears by demonising certain religious groups. Kean Gibson, as is customary during election season, is once again on another adventure to attack Hinduism. All of this is taking place while political parties, campaigning under some religious banner, are being established to contest the next elections.These developments are dangerous. We have seen what religious intolerance has done in other parts of the world. I don’t think it is something that would benefit anyone in this country, except a small group of politicians who failed this country over the past four-plus years.They don’t have any track record to boast or any plan to take this country forward and have, therefore, opted for the ‘divide and rule strategy.’ If, as Guyanese, we wish to achieve our motto, “one people, one nation, one destiny,” then we must reject this group of charlatans.Failure to rebuke these charlatans will make us active participants in the dangerous quest to divide the country along religious lines. Also remember Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven”.Sincerely,Sukrishnalall Pashalast_img read more